Posts Tagged ‘Diversity & Inclusion’

My “Get Up” Blog for March – Getting Up after “Career Falls”

When corporate culture where he worked shifted away from Val Boston’s business philosophy, he “got up” to start his own consultant practice where he could be true to his values.

For the March blog as part of my monthly “Get Up” Blog series inspired by US Figure Skating’s “Get Up” campaign, I am featuring people getting up, not from from physical falls, but from “falls” or unexpected downturns in vocations and careers. The “Get Up” message inspires us to get up from the many different types of falls we can have in our lives just as figure skaters get up and continue after a fall on the very hard cold ice.

I have four short stories to share:


Adult figure skater Shauna Lynn Panczyszyn shared: “I moved to my current city for a job that sought me out. They had made promises that they didn’t keep, and hired someone else to share my position without telling me a week after I started. Three and a half months later they fired me with absolutely no explanation. But I “got up” and dove head first into full time freelance illustration (link to her website) and haven’t looked back. Four years later it is the best thing that could have happened to me, AND I was able to fit skating into my day. Before that, I would have to travel an hour to another rink (my current was just across the street from where I live and I could only skate weekends there) just to get some ice time after work IF I didn’t get stuck working late.


After moving internationally and discovering that her past experience was not really valued in the US, Noa Ronan had to get up and forge her own path as a coach and consultant.


A consultant I met at my local SHRM (Society of Human Resource Management) chapter – Triangle SHRM here in North Carolina, Noa Ronan of Noa Ronen Coaching,, shared, “11 years ago I moved from Israel to the US. I had a fulfilling executive career as a change management consultant and HR and Training executive. But after our family relocation to the US reality hit me, neither my Israeli career experience nor my MBA from Israel was of interest in the US when I applied for jobs. I felt very lost and stuck; I didn’t want to apply for jobs that will take me back to what I did ten years ago or go in a different direction. I loved what I did and I didn’t want to let go of who I was in my past. It took me few good years to fall and fail again and again until I was able to “get up” and let go of the story I was telling myself about my “glorious” past and recreate who I want to be right here in the present. Today I am using all the skills I have acquired over my career with new ones, and I coach global leaders and people in transitions. Letting go of my past was about being present with my new reality and recreating a new future for myself.


And from a highly respected consultant who has been an invaluable mentor to me as I started my own business in 2010, Val Boston of Boston and Associates, LLC: “After 5 years with a global organization, they were sold to a much larger firm. With the acquisition came a major cultural and philosophical shift, from a service focus model to a more “bottom line” one. This change in business philosophy was in direct conflict with mine. I then I “got up” and decided to launch my own consultancy focusing on Diversity & Inclusion, and Leadership Coaching. That was 17 years ago!”


And another friend from TSHRM who is so supportive of my figure skating journey, Diane Olsen (link to her LinkedIn profile) shares her story of “getting up” multiple times: “After ten years building an amazing insurance industry career, where I climbed ladders, I turned down the ultimate promotion at a very large company. I decided to move cross country and go back to school, but soon found myself in a financial position where I needed to go back to work full time. I grabbed the first job that came along. When that company shut down, I job-jumped a few times while trying to finish my degree part-time. I had a roller coaster on my resume now.

Then it dawned on me that I created this storm. What was I going to be when I grew up? I didn’t get my answer until years later. I took a job in Raleigh as an Operations Manager for a start-up company, and I was employee number nine. Over the course of eight years, I built four other departments, was promoted to VP of Operations and HR, and was able to be a part of the buy-out of the company at the end of 2015. Each of these departments I created had information pulled from a lot of the in-between jobs I’d had in the past.

Sometimes, you are dusting yourself off without even realizing it. I have since left that job, taking a well-deserved hiatus. It’s a bit stressful being in transition, but exciting at the same time. Needless to say, I look forward to “getting up” and starting my next adventure with open arms.


Life, like the ice, can be very hard, with falls giving us a good jar. But we can rise up, persevere, and move onto something better.

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Links to all my earlier “Get Up” monthly blogs can be found on my skating blogs and videos blog page.

Evolving Employee Resource Groups – a Creative Approach from Erie Insurance

Tesha L. Nesbit Arrington, Erie Insurance's Director of Diversity & Inclusion and Strategic Analytics, presented Erie's D&I best practices at a recent National Diversity Council - Carolinas "Best Practices" Meeting

Tesha L. Nesbit Arrington, Erie Insurance’s Director of Diversity & Inclusion and Strategic Analytics, presented Erie’s D&I best practices at a recent National Diversity Council – Carolinas “Best Practices” Meeting

In the diversity and inclusion field, there continues to be continued discussion on the importance of Employee Resource Groups, or ERGs. Traditionally, they have been referred to as “affinity groups” as they bring together employees around a common constituency factor such as Black, Hispanic, Women, Young Professionals, LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender), Veterans and more. These groups help make employees feel more at home and included in the workplace, and provide activities such as professional and social networking, mentoring and community involvement.

Over the years, ERGs have continued to evolve. Some companies now refer to ERGs as BRGs – Business Resource Groups. This underscores that the true goal of the ERG is to make the employees and the business overall more effective. There should be a strong connection between the strategy and goals of the ERG (or BRG) and the company. Activities such as leadership development, connecting the company to the community and marketplace, and even input into product or services development helps the organization achieve its business goals.

As a diversity and inclusion consultant, I often attend various workshops to continue to pick up the latest development in my field. In early July, I attend a half day “Diversity and Inclusion Best Practices” seminar organized by the National Diversity Council – Carolinas in Durham, NC. One of the presenters was Tesha L. Nesbit Arrington, Director of Diversity & Inclusion and Strategic Analytics at Erie Insurance Group.

Ms. Nesbit, in presenting several diversity and inclusion best practices from Erie Insurance, highlighted their innovative approach to employee resource groups. Instead of starting with constituency-based resource groups, they started with groups focused around a particular business focus. Their first four ERGs were:
SynERgIzE – focused on building an inclusive workplace
Multiplicity – for diverse employee recruiting outreach
CamaradERIE – building and promoting diversity among the agent community
ExpERIEnce – around providing best customer experience and service for its diverse customer set.

After these networks were up, running and successful with participation from a wide range of constituencies, that provided a strong base for next launching constituency based affinity groups. The first two were women and multi-generational, with African-American and Veterans’s charter proposals in the queue.

Erie Insurance continues to build ongoing robust diversity and inclusion initiatives on this base, including their “Dignity and Respect” Campaign and scoring 100% on the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Corporate Equality Index, which measures corporate LGBT inclusion.

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